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Funds secured from MaRS Innovation, HTX, OICR and CCR to speed commercialization of Xagenic’s rapid molecular diagnostic technology

TORONTO (October 13, 2010) – MaRS Innovation today announced a $500,000 investment in its Toronto-based spin-off company, Xagenic Inc.

When combined with funds from other investors and lenders, the new working capital provided to Xagenic totals $1.04 million.

This follow‐on financing includes a $300,000 loan from HTX, The Health Technology Exchange; $200,000 from the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research; $40,000 from the Ontario Centre of Excellence Centre for Commercialization of Research; and the $500,000 from MaRS Innovation.

Xagenic Inc.’s revolutionary class of chip‐based molecular diagnostics deliver unprecedented speed and sensitivity to analyzing genetic material from bacterial and human cells.

Using a breakthrough in engineering matter at the nanoscale, Xagenic employs its patented nanostructured microelectrodes to achieve highly sensitive nucleic acid sensors that detect DNA and RNA with record‐breaking speed.

Existing molecular tests present many challenges: they are complex and time‐consuming, and they require skilled laboratory technicians and complex sample preparation. Coupled with streamlined sample processing, Xagenic’s chip will enable these tests to be completed in 30 minutes or less, allowing them to be done in a doctor’s office or at the patient’s bedside.

Xagenic’s platform has the potential for detecting many conditions, from bacterial infections to genetic disease and cancer.

Shana Kelley, co-founder of Xagenic Inc.
Shana Kelley, co-founder of Xagenic Inc.

Xagenic’s technology was created by Dr. Shana Kelley, a highly recognized scientist at the University of Toronto with direct experience in commercialization.

Dr. Kelley, professor in the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy and the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto, includes in her many honours and awards being a member of Canada’s Top 40 Under 40, and in MIT’s Technology Review Top 100 in 2004. She is co‐founder of GeneOhm Sciences, a diagnostic company acquired by Becton Dickinson in 2005 while Dr. Kelley was on the faculty of Boston College.

“Xagenic provides a unique technology platform that addresses critical and unmet clinical needs in hospitals, clinics and doctors’ offices,” said Raphael Hofstein, president and CEO of MaRS Innovation. “Our investment in Xagenic is the first in a series of announcements regarding several spin-off company creations in the next few months.”

Xagenic’s incoproration and funding reflects the commitment of MaRS Innovation and its 16 member institutions in identifying exciting inventions and moving those ideas towards the marketplace.

Securing early-stage financing that allows Canadian spin-off companies to grow and develop at home is a recurring challenge. Many brilliant Canadian researchers have developed technologies that were rapidly acquired on advantageous terms by investors in other nations, most commonly the USA.

“MaRS Innovation in very excited about the potential of the Xagenic technology,” Hofstein said. “It is still early days for this company. This investment, however, sends a strong signal to researchers working in our partner institutions. MaRS Innovation wants to help develop Ontario technology to its fullest potential, right here and right now.”

Professor Peter Lewis, associate vice-president, Research at U of T, noted that “This is a perfect example of how partnership can result in an innovation that will benefit global society and enhance the research capacity of Canada. You can be assured that there will be many more of these types of announcements from the collaboration between U of T and MaRS Innovation.”

Lewis is also Interim Executive Director of U of T’s Innovations & Partnerships Office.

About MaRS Innovation

MaRS Innovation logoMaRS Innovation is the commercialization agent for the exceptional discovery pipeline of 16 leading Toronto academic institutions. As a single entry point to $1 billion of annual research and development, MaRS Innovation represents a “one‐stop” shop for investors and licensees who wish to access technology assets within Toronto’s discovery district. Supported by the Government of Canada through the Networks of Centres of Excellence and its member institutions, MaRS Innovation advances commercialization through industry partnerships, licensing and robust company creation.

About HTX

HTX – The Health Technology Exchange is a non‐profit medical technology commercialization acceleration company funded by the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation.

About the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research

Ontario Institute for Cancer Research logoOICR is an independent, not‐for‐profit corporation funded by the Government of Ontario through the Ministry of Research and Innovation. OICR is a centre of excellence, moving Ontario to the forefront of discovery and innovation in cancer research. OICR is making Ontario more effective in knowledge transfer and commercialization, to maximize health and economic benefits of research findings for the people of Ontario.

OICR is also one of MaRS Innovation’s 16 member institutions.

About The Ontario Centres of Excellence Centre for Commercialization of Research

Ontario Centres of Excellence Centre for Commercialization of Research (CCR) generates economic benefits for Canada through the successful commercialization of ideas emerging out of research by helping high‐potential, innovative companies build the capacity to become sustainable global competitors.

CCR works exclusively with early‐stage entrepreneurs and innovative enterprises with excellent potential. These enterprises have either developed innovations in Canadian publicly‐funded research institutions or have a relationship with such an institution.

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